My host in Perth decided I needed some culture before I head to Four Seasons Bali and so took me to a Beethoven & Mahler concert at the Perth Concert Hall last night.
Lung King Heen is the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars and was the Four Seasons restaurant Mr Sharp told me I must eat in. I knew this would be an epic dinner.
As soon as Christoph, former General Manager of the New York Four Seasons, said he was moving to Hong Kong, I vowed to stay at his new hotel. Then I had coffee with Mr Sharp (Founder of Four Seasons) at his Toronto home and he mentioned that I must stay at Four Seasons Hong Kong, to try food from the only Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong to be awarded three Michelin stars. On my way to Four Seasons Bali the chance to stay at the hotel came up and I had very high expectations.
It had always been my dream to visit the Hong Kong Peninsula, with its ‘Peninsula green’ Rolls-Royces, since I saw the Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. On my previous two trips to Hong Kong my friends and colleagues had thwarted this, saying this Kowloon hotel was too far from Central. Four Seasons staff had told me The Peninsula was the place to have afternoon tea in Hong Kong but not a good place to stay.
What a night in Hong Kong last night. It ended looking at this incredible view from another ex-Qatar friend’s apartment. A perfect end to a night to remember.
The purpose of this post is to recommend Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social restaurant, where I started the evening. One of the best meals of my life.
Having stayed at the Oriental in Bangkok, I could not come to Hong Kong without a quick visit to the Mandarin. I was surprised to find the 1960s style lobby unchanged since my last visit more than 10 years before, when I came to Hong Kong on a business trip from Bermuda.
I was nervous that my second stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok might not live up to the first. However, as soon as I got into the BMW Series 7, was handed freezing cold towels and the classical music was put on I knew I was completely wrong.
At the hotel I was handed a flower garland before I entered the doors and welcomed back with genuine warmth. I was taken up to my suite to check in, staff on the way said “welcome back Kuhn Simon” with cheerful enthusiasm. I was back at my Bangkok home.
I had generally been unimpressed with Phuket and decided to book a trip to see ‘James Bond Island’ on a VIP trip. I was so pleased that I did. Seeing the awesome nature beauty of the islands around Phuket, with a small group of great people (eg two brilliant Canadian girls, a very sweet young Japanese couple etc) changed my perception of this area of Thailand.
I was last in Koh Samui in the 1980s, staying in a hut on Big Buddha Beach, before Four Seasons, Banyan Tree etc arrived on this tropical paradise and it had always been a dream to return. The Four Seasons Mercedes was waiting for me at the airport with flower garlands and they had sparkling wine for me and juice, and a baby seat, for Issy.
I got a taxi to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport for a third time on this trip. It was a ‘TB free’ taxi but I am not sure that justified the 600 Baht charged this time. At check in there was a teddy bear on the counter, which ‘we’ took as a good omen.
I decided I wanted to experience a bit of Japan in Bangkok and what better way than a visit to the Okura Prestige hotel. It is said to be one of the best hotels in Bangkok. Okura hotels are to Japan, what the Mandarin Oriental is to Hong Kong.
Halloween is taken extremely seriously here in Bangkok with elaborate makeup, costumes and pool & foam parties.
Si Frew has lived in the UK, Bermuda, Qatar, Cyprus & the Cayman Islands. During this time he met Whoopi Goldberg (in Claridge's), Mike Tyson (in the Concorde Lounge at JFK) , Gordon Ramsay (in the Doha Four Seasons), Chris Eubanks (in The Dorchester), Cherie Blair (in Bermuda & again in the Doha Four Seasons) etc. There are funny stories attached to all these interactions, feel free to ask Si about them when you meet him.